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Shasta Lake

Rent a houseboat to explore the state’s largest reservoir

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There’s plenty of room to move on this 30,000-acre/12,140-hectare reservoir, the largest in California. A typical summer day finds the crystal blue waters sprinkled with fishing boats, jet skis, inner tubes—almost anything that floats. Especially houseboats. Some Almost 370 miles of shoreline wrap around mirror-smooth coves ideal for anchoring. Cast for bass, crappie, catfish, and sturgeon. Or just kick back with a cocktail on the deck of your floating vacation home and drink in views of Mt. Shasta’s perennially snowcapped, 14,180-foot/4,322-meter peak. Rentals from marinas and resorts around the lake range from basic models with comfortable accommodations to multi-tiered, floating palaces, with whirlpool spas, gourmet kitchens, and master suites with flat-screen TVs.

"Water crafts of all shapes and sizes are available for rent."

Other worthwhile stops around the lake include a free tour of Shasta Dam, at 602 feet/183 meters, the second largest concrete dam in the country. You might want to prime your visit by listening to “This Land is Your Land,” Woody Guthrie’s ode to America, which he wrote while helping build the dam’s arch barrier. Another year-round adventure: take a guided tour of Lake Shasta Caverns, a fascinating underground world 250 million years in the making—and only accessible by boat (ride included with tour).

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An ocean shore

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